I arrived in Springfield, MA late last night to compete in the Smith & Wesson IDPA Indoor Nationals on Saturday. This match will always have a special place in my heart. Back in 2006 I had my first chance to shoot an M&P here as a pick up gun on one of the stages. I was simply shocked at how softly this little polymer wonder shot factory .40 caliber loads. It was there that Paul Pluff, Director of Marketing Services for Smith, planted the seed for me to make the move to become a Smith & Wesson shooter.
Just months later I had my dream job working as the company’s Consumer Program Manager. I loved it and had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, build programs and help grow a shooting team like never before in my career. One of my projects was working behind the scenes for this match, helping to elevate it to national championship status in IDPA.
In 2008 I didn’t compete. I was pregnant and once again took on a coordination role. I was filled with uncertainty of what was going to happen with my shooting now that I was going to be a mom. Would it be the last event I would be involved with? Would I compete again? It was a bitter sweet time. I immersed myself in all the planning and in the last months of my pregnancy it was a wonderful distraction from the worries of a soon-to-be mother. Working with shooters and the wonderful event volunteers filled me with purpose and resolve that, no matter what, shooting was going to be a part of my life.
Looking back four years ago I remember sitting at the registration desk and walking the hallways of the Shooting Sports Center with a very big belly. The last day of the match was when things got really interesting. I started having contractions at around 2:00 am. I was in the middle of a dream where I was standing on the podium announcing the winners at the awards ceremony. It wasn’t the contraction that woke me, but the moment in my dream that my water broke in front of everyone!
I went to the match, all smiles and happy but I knew, that day would forever change my life. I can still remember the look on Tom Yost’s face (the event’s sponsor coordinator) when he stopped to ask me a question. I could only answer by breathing deeply in through my nose. “Your having a contraction, aren’t you?” he asked looking just a wee bit panicked.
I just smiled.
They lasted all day, through a late lunch with Rob Leatham and Doug Koenig at the nearby 99 restaurant and into the evening. I had planned playing MC that night but as the day wore on, I feared my dream was a premonition. I was NOT going to have my water break on stage in front of all those people!!!!
My dad was the match director and stepped up to the task. I think I may have even growled at him a few times, but he nailed it. Me? I stayed seated and continued to focus on deep breathing. All around it was a success and after the presentation my man and I were invited to a celebratory dinner with members of Smith & Wesson’s executive staff. I waddled to the truck, pulled myself in and we made our way over to the restaurant. As we were looking for a parking spot, I told my honey to pull up front and run in to make apologies. No dinner for us – the baby was coming!
A few hours later I was given the go ahead to push. I was exhausted from all the work and lack of sleep. This needed to happen fast, so I treated it like it was the last stage of a world championship. Much to my doctor’s surprise, the baby was out in two pushes. My little munchkin was born!
Fast forward four more years and I am back in Springfield for the match again. This year is the first year I will be away from my darling little girl. When I was packing earlier this week, folding my Team Smith & Wesson shirts into the suitcase, she said to me, “Mama, that’s the coolest shooting shirt.”
I teared up and said, “Thank you, sweetie.”
I think so too.
It’s hard being away from my family this week. It’s the first time I will miss my munchkin’s birthday. I am excited about the match, the book signing, and seeing all my dear friends, but it’s tough…
Happy birthday, little one. I love you and miss you.